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The UK committee on climate change (CCC) have today published a report on how land usage can help to achieve greenhouse gas emission targets that were set out in June 2019.

The CCC has published a new report titled, ‘Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK’, the report presents the CCC’s first ever in-depth advice on the UK’s agriculture and land use policies.

The committee looked at UK land usage data from 2017, including agriculture, forestry and peatland, accounting for 12% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, with the correct support, farmers and land managers can reduce their emissions by almost two thirds. A transition period is required for net-zero to be accurate that will generate net benefits for the UK and leave our land more robust to the changing climate. *

The report also assesses the way that land usage is used in today’s world and the urgent changes required.

Below are the key findings produced by CCC on how to achieve the UK emission targets by 2050:

  • Increase tree planting – increasing UK forestry from 13% to at least 17% by planting around 30,000 hectares (120 million trees) of broadleaf and conifer woodland each year. **
  • Encourage low-carbon farming practices – such as ‘controlled-release’ fertilisers, improving livestock health and slurry acidification.
  • Restore peatlands – restoring at least 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat.
  • Encourage bioenergy crops – expand the planting of UK energy crops to around 23,000 hectares each year.
  • Reduce food waste and consumption of the most carbon-intensive foods – reduce the 13.6 million tonnes of food waste produced annually by 20% and the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy by at least 20% per person.

To push for change, the CCC are advising incentives to be put in place for land managers with long-term clarity needed to help achieve net-zero. The CCC have published 3 main actions:

  • New funding and revenue raising actions – A new market based measure to promote tree planting, either through auctioned contracts or with the inclusion of forestry in a carbon trading scheme.
  • Strengthening the regulatory baseline – Extending existing regulations to reduce on-farm emissions and using new legislation to further regulate agricultural emissions. By banning damaging practices, such as rotational burning on peatland and peat extraction.
  • Measures to enable rapid change – Support schemes to strengthen skills, training for low-carbon farming and raise awareness of sustainable management of low land peat.

It has been estimated that the measures required will cost an estimated £1.4 billion per year, which would generate a wider benefit of £4billion per year.

Funding is expected to be met through a combination of public and private sectors, with the UK currently spending £3.3billion each year through the Common agricultural policy.

Can the new goals be met within the time period? That is ultimately the question.

At Hero renewables, we want to ensure that the UK is able to reach the target of hitting net zero emission by 2050, if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint then think about going green and installing microgeneration technology in your home or business.

Give our expert team a call on 0808 222 0 111 to get your free feasibility study.

* https://www.theccc.org.uk/2020/01/23/major-shift-in-uk-land-use-needed-to-deliver-net-zero-emissions/

** https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/land-use-policies-for-a-net-zero-uk/

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